The Samsung Galaxy S4 is a capable phone, bolstered by a beautiful HD display and a terrific camera, and it delivers smooth performance and tons of features in an attractive package. It’s also a phone you’d rather not crack on the pavement, nor would you want anything to shake up the expensive insides that make the Samsung Galaxy S4 the terrific smartphone it is. Thankfully, the market is loaded with quality cases, each of which seemingly provides something special in addition to solid protection. Whether you dabble with minimalist protection, a person who likes a little glitter with their gold, or an aficionado of all things retro, there’s likely a case for you – assuming you know just where to look.
Here are our top picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S4 cases. Also, check out our picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories and our Samsung Galaxy S4 review for a closer look a the South Korean company’s flagship device and its heralded capabilities.
Updated on 2-5-2014 by Simon Hill: Added Trident Kraken A.M.S. Case, Lifeproof Fre Case, Cruzerlite Androidified A2 Case, TYLT Energi Case, and the Mophie Juice Pack.
It may sound, and even look, like a piece of military equipment, but it is also an excellent Galaxy S4 case and it’s designed to offer serious protection from bumps, falls, and the elements. There’s a silicone inner case, which you could use standalone if you were looking for a lighter solution. On top of that you’ve got a polycarbonate exoskeleton in two pieces with heavily strengthened TPE corners. The front piece holds a screen protector. Buttons and ports are protected and there’s even a dust filter for the speaker bay. There’s also a kickstand in the back and an optional belt clip. Fully-loaded this is a heavy and bulky case, but it can take a lot of punishment.
Lifeproof Fre Case ($80)
The big selling point for Lifeproof cases is the waterproofing. Stick the Fre case on your S4 and you can submerge it up to 2 meters. The case is also completely dirt, snow and shockproof. It’s well designed and carefully fitted to ensure that your S4 is fully operational and there’s no muffling of the sound. Considering the level of protection it offers, this is a fairly slim case, but some added bulk is inevitable. You can get it in plain black or opt to go with cyan, white, or pink.
It doesn’t get much simpler than Cruzerlite’s TPU offerings. These flexible cases are easy to fit, the cut-outs are precise, and a small lip protects the screen when you place the S4 face down. To add a little personality, you’ll find the Android mascot emblazoned on the back. They’re slightly translucent and you can pick them up in a wide choice of colors. There’s also ribbing on the sides to improve grip. They offer simple, lightweight protection on a budget.
TYLT Energi Case ($80)
Battery cases always add bulk and this is no exception, but the clever design allows you to slide the battery off when you don’t need it. Each pack includes two slim accent cases that will offer basic lightweight protection. When you need extra juice you slide them into the battery case and you’ve got another 2,530mAh on tap, which will almost double your S4’s battery life. You can still charge and sync with the case on and it doesn’t block NFC either. If you don’t like the lime green, go for the red or blue varieties.
Mophie Juice Pack ($100)
It’s definitely expensive, but the Mophie Juice Pack is positively svelte for a battery case and it does provide a reasonable level of protection from bumps and falls. It has a 2,300mAh battery which will probably give you about 80 percent extra, or somewhere around 7 hours. The pass through buttons work well, the four LEDs give a clear indication of remaining power, and it’s sleek and comfortable to hold, but it is heavy.
Genuine black leather, broken only by the understated silver Cygnett logo, provides a classy executive look for this flip-open Galaxy S4 case. Inside you’ll find a stylish, brown diamond pattern on the microfiber lining. A clever design allows you to fold the case so it can act as a stand for your S4 in landscape view. It has all the cut outs that you’d expect to find, but it’s very easy to remove your S4 should you want to do so. It also ships with a free screen protector to ensure that stunning display stays in pristine condition.
Spigen Neo Hybrid Case ($30)
The svelte, angular finish on this Spigen offering really makes it stand out. The basic case is flexible TPU, with a rubber feel that offers good grip and the usual shock absorbing properties, but there is also a polycarbonate bumper frame that goes around the outside. The frame comes in a contrasting color and there are several to choose from. It also includes a power button and volume rocker. Your ports and camera are all accessible thanks to cut outs.
Skech Custom Jacket ($30)
It’s rare we highlight a flip-top case on our site, even more so one that merely looks like leather. However, Skech’s Custom Jacket is a knockout given its interior felt lining, easy application, and overall lightweight build. It’s formfitting as well, sporting robust cutouts for buttons and other external components, while taking the low-key route visually in the form of three subtle colors (black, brown and tan). And it takes no more than a quick flip to open.
You’ll find solid cases on offer at Ballistic and they tend to have extra padding and support at the corners where the majority of impacts occur. The Aspira series has the usual dual-layer protection with rubber shock absorption inside and a hard plastic shell, but they have spiced up the offerings for the S4 by going all out on the colors and patterns that are available. You want bright orange flowers on a pink background, or yellow and grey honeycomb? You’ll find them here.
Body Glove Toughsuit ($45)
As you might expect from a case with a name like “Toughsuit” this exceeds military specifications for drop tests. It combines four layers, including a screen protector, to ensure that your S4 does not shatter, crack, or even scuff should it come tumbling out of your hands and meet with a floor-based disaster. It comes with a holster and you can opt for subtle black or bright pink–there is no in between. It’s a bit chunky, but that’s the price you pay for serious protection.
X-Doria Dash Icon Case ($30)
Inlaid fabrics may be considered ’70s chic in some circles, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t look (and feel) appealing given a 21st-century touch. The X-Doria’s Dash Icon series splices together vibrant, textured fabrics with a hard polycarbonate inner shell designed to protect the S4 from front to back and side to side. Patterns vary, but each model features raised puff prints — subtly adding versatility to scratch-resistant durability.
When you absolutely, positively have to protect your phone from every potential mishap, then you should opt for something seriously tough, like the top of the line Defender series from OtterBox. It offers multiple layers of protection – we’re talking silicone shock absorption, a polycarbonate hard shell, a screen guard, and port covers. There’s even a belt clip holster and kickstand. It’s a bit bulky, and screen protectors always reduce the sensitivity of your touchscreen (remember to recalibrate to compensate). If this seems like overkill then check out the Commuter and Reflex series at OtterBox for something lighter.
Innovez Life Series Case ($25)
Offering a classic combo of hard outer shell and cushioned interior, the Innovez Life Series has serious eco-friendly credentials. The cases are constructed from environmentally friendly plastic, and they come in a range of two-tone color designs. In addition to the dual-layer protection, there’s a raised bezel to protect the screen, and button covers to safeguard your controls.
Here’s a nice, simple, flexible, tactile case which is easy to fit and keeps a low profile. The Belkin Grip is smooth to the touch and provides extra grip on your S4, so you you’re less likely to drop it. The matte finish comes tinted in black or white, and there’s a small Belkin logo. It protects the buttons and there’s a lip to protect the screen if you should lay it face down, but all ports and the camera remain accessible thanks to cutouts.
Cimo Slim S-Line Case ($10)
Bulk is the last thing you want to tack on your S4, and like the aforementioned Diztronic High Gloss Clear TPU Case, Cimo’s flagship offering is made with that in mind. Constructed of thermoplastic polyurethane and embellished with raised edges, the sleek case — available in seven distinct colors — provides slight exterior protection while protecting the screen when your phone is placed face down. Plus, it’s flexible and easy to grip given the silicon components, and features couple button cutouts for easy accessibility.
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